Park burned in ‘arson’

2015-08-11 06:00
Pillars are all that remain of the lapa in Paradise Park, New Woodlands after an alleged arson attack on Friday last week.  

Samantha Lee

Pillars are all that remain of the lapa in Paradise Park, New Woodlands after an alleged arson attack on Friday last week. PHOTO: Samantha Lee

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

A second attempt at vandalising Paradise Park was successful on Friday last week as the lapa was burned down in the early hours of the morning.

The Katrine Harries Close park in New Woodlands was set alight in what community members are calling “a revenge attack”.

Franklin Brawood, the developer of the park, says he has no doubt that this was arson.

“This is the second time, and this time it was successful,” he says.

Brawood believes an accelerant was used, as it rained heavily that night.

“There is no electricity here so there is no way this could have caught alight other than someone setting the fire,” he says.

His theory is supported by the fact that the fire started on the top of the lapa, which is made of dried palm leaves.

Brawood was woken by his wife at 02:30 and told that the park was on fire.

Residents attempted to extinguish the flames but were unable to do so with just water.

“Last time they did this we were able to put the flames out with just our hose pipes. This time it was too strong,” he says.

The park was developed in 2013 and many events and concerts have been hosted there.

Residents were planning to celebrate the park’s second anniversary this past weekend, but the celebration has had to be pushed back due to the damages.

All that remains are the pillars and some burnt beams and nails.

Brawood estimates the cost of the damages at R2000.

The park was built through donations and was intended for the upliftment of the community, says subforum chairperson Basil Coetzee.

“The subforum condemns any act of sabotage or destruction of structures. One of the objectives of community policing is to take back our open spaces and streets and we condemn any criminal behaviour that undermines this,” he says.

Coetzee adds that several weeks ago, the park had once again become a hub for illicit behaviour and had not been used by the community.

“The park itself is for the community and when individuals contribute from our resources to uplift the community it should be appreciated and not destroyed,” he says.

“We call on the community to come forward with information that will lead to the successful conviction of those responsible.”

Plans are in place to see the park rehabilitated.

“The park is for the community and many are heartbroken by what has happened,” he says.

Coetzee urges residents to take ownership and work with the police to prevent such acts from recurring.

“There has been gambling, loitering and drug use at the park recently. We will not hesitate to engage any mechanism to put a stop to this behaviour,” he says.

Plans to make the park a part of an official tour for visitors to the area have been put on hold.

If you would like to help in rehabilitating the park through donations of materials or labour, call Coetzee on 073 886 3678.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.


6 myths about male cancer

It is important to be aware of the most prevalent cancer diseases amongst men in our country.


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.